Monday, 31 March 2008
"Anybody interested in this should look at kent online.co.uk for the latest turn of events - two men seen running into the arcade and spraying petrol about the place before running out the back door to a get away car is the latest news.Turf war theory should not be ruled out.Below are the opening paragraps of the storyTwo men walked into a Kent seafront amusement arcade before spraying gaming machines with petrol and setting them alight, causing more than £500,000 damage.Detectives say the pair escaped through a rear door at Tivoli amusement centre at around 5pm on Friday.The petrol was contained in a yellow carrier bag and a rucksack carried by the men. It is thought they drove off in a dark-blue old style Volvo that was parked off the seafront in Belgrave Road. It was found abandoned and burnt out in Grosvenor Place in the town minutes later.Both suspects are white males in their 30s; one is 6ft 1in tall, the other 5ft 11in tall. They were both wearing cream coloured tops and baseball caps, and one wore sunglasses.Police are working with CCTV footage from inside and outside the building as part of the investigation.A police spokesman said there were 10 people inside the arcade at the time, and that the fire was lit in front of an office at the rear of the premises.She added: "It was extremely lucky there were no fatalities."
BTW w- you're quick to mention the awful IOT gazunder but not the august KM Extra in your stories. If you do net get a copy thru your door, please call KM distribution on 01843 296969.Nick, Whitstable"
I popped across to kentonline and also found this snippet at the end of the item:
"Water damage was also caused to the neighbouring DV8 nightclub during the operation."
The unanswered question at the moment is was the damage intended for Tivoli or DV8 Nightclub? I still suscribe to the theory raised in my original post. DV8 was locked up at the time and only maniacs would throw petrol around in a crowded basement club with bouncers/heavies around. Water damage can be as effective in nobbling premises as fire damage is. My sympathies are with Tivoli for being in the firing line!
The whining of allotment holders continues along with the growing rumble of discontent about unsuitable fencing blighting Thanet's 'townscape' that the rest of us have got to live with for years to come. There has barely been a week since late December that 'Allotment Fences' has not been in our IOTG.
This week saw yet another bleat from Mrs P Hitch of The Ramsgate and District Leisure Society about the need for security and the fact that 2.4m galvanised steel fencing will be screened. Everyone accepts the need for security but there has to be a sensible approach to the whole matter and at the moment 'commonsense' is missing.
Cllr Hart and Mr Went appear to have achieved some positive steps with the fencing you see here being used up the path to Drapers Mill instead of 2.4m galvanised steel and the fence will be set back to allow for hedge planting. What may seem odd, is why should it take involvement of Mr Went and his ward councillor who describes negotiation with TDC as 'heated' to achieve these minor concessions.?
I loved the way, the Allotment Act 1908 was used in Mrs Hitch's letter as some form of justification for what is going on. We can all quote Allotment Acts:
Allotment Act 1908, 1922, 1925, and 1950. However the most relevant Westminster guidance on allotments was the Fifth Report of the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affair of 1998. It recommended best practice in allotment management as:
1. Designation of a Council Allotments Officer.
2. Providing water and toilets.
3. Preventing vandalism and theft by improved security fencing, locks on gates, hedges, Plot Watch schemes and involvement of the local community and schools etc. a small extract:
"Specifically, a local authority should have in place a designated allotments officer; should seek to provide water and appropriate fencing at all allotment sites; and should have a basic programme for encouraging demand for allotments including simple advertising of vacant plots in the local media and an information board at each site displaying whether plots are available along with details of whom to contact."
The Biggles view is that TDC has over the years neglected its allotments and allotment holders; failed to implement most of the 'good practice' that marks out many other local authorities and having 'sold' a site for development has rapidly 'bought-off' opposition by stating it would spend a great deal of money providing improved security at all the other allotments. It then rushed the process along without careful consideration of each individual site and its needs, waiving planning regs in the process and not involving the local community in the process BEFORE drawing up a detailed PLAN for each allotment. The letters in the press about Culmers indicated that no real plan was drawn up and the fact that 'concessions' have now been accepted at Dane Valley would indicate no careful planning.
Is this process to continue around the Isle or will TDC pause for breath and have a re-think? We are all reading about the 'fiasco' at Heathrow with some amazement; we have our own ' can't organise a p**s up in a brewery' incompetence story running in Thanet over this fencing business.
The photograph below shows another allotment at Dane Valley. The 1998 Select Committe report stated that Local Authorities should clear unused plots and rotivate them prior to a new 'holder' taking over the plot and advertise and encourage up-take. Without a radical re-think on effective Allotment management, TDC will just have galvanised steel fencing around derelict ground, sorry I mean allotment plots, like this.
Sunday, 30 March 2008
I sent Norah, ex intelligence analyst and now tea-lady again, out shopping to Tesco to find some Earl Grey and she came back with the above picture on her 'Brownie'.
Its paint and its on the pavement and certainly fulfills the description of unnecessary visual pollution. Do we really need to be 'told' where exactly to stand to use cash machines?
"It's a new category of 'G' " said Flashheart, when I relayed this find to him, " Corporate Grafitti, seems an apt description, Biggles old chap, Corporate Grafitti!"
I am now preparing an invite to Tesco to send their G-experts to our G Conference at The Winter Gardens, to present a paper on Corporate Grafitti at £975 per head!
I am of course talking about The Independent Action Party (IAP) and its now ex-President Charles Goddard. He has announced his resignation as Party President citing a difference of opinions in the party; " I believe that Cllr Worrow has been influenced too much by others."
Before you go searching TDC's site to find Cllr Worrow, we are talking about Cllr John Worrow of Birchington PC who has fellow IAP member Cllr Jean Fleming on Birchington PC as well. You will find them on Birchington Parish Council's web-site.
Saturday, 29 March 2008
' Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 600 employees and has the following statistics?
29 have been accused of spouse abuse
8 have been arrested for shoplifting
Which organization is this?
It's the 635 members of the House of Commons, the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line. '
Friday, 28 March 2008
BBC News has just reported that The Tivoli Amusement Arcade is on fire and is this another Godden's Gap fire or is there a turf war? David O'Leary is rumoured to have been involved in drug dealing and that his murder was a gang war 'hit' . Rumour also had it that people attached to DV8 were in some way responsible.
Margate has enough troubles without such criminal goings on. I would be delighted to find that this fire was just a simple electrical fault rather than a 'tit for tat' retaliation. We wait out.
The fire was, thankfully, contained by Kent Fire Service and appears to have been confined to Tivoli Amusement Arcade. The arcade is beside the entrance to DV8 nightclub and Kent Police stood watch over the premises until this morning . A Fire Investigation Team examined the site this morning and all is back to normal; closed. Tivoli Arcade has been closed on and off for a number of weeks and some 'machines' have been removed in the past week or so. I am told the owner is a Mr Dave Bean who also owns the Dolphin in Broadstairs. The memory of the conflagration a few doors up Marine Terrace at Jimmy Godden's 'Mr G's Arcade' a couple of years ago that created 'Goddens Gap' is still fresh and I suppose we should be pleased that we did not wake up this morning to a 'Bean's Gap'. The change in Gaming Laws has made times even harder for Margate's arcades and will we see more closures on Marine Terrace? If we do, I hope the complex electrical wiring that is needed in these places is made safe and that fire risks are reduced.
Our local chippy is now public enemy No 1 for trying to lure school children in to eat , according to the government funded quango, School Food Trust. Instead of just getting on with the business of improving school food in our schools, this quango now wants all schools to ban children leaving the school site at lunchtime just in case they stuff themselves silly on non PC food whilst out of the miserable PC environment that now permeates our schools.
Not content with sending this advice to all Headteachers, who are of course entitled to ignore it, The School Food Trust has also come up with the idea of banning licencing of certain foodshops in the proximity of schools. If ever there was a case of paying people tax-payers money to do an unnecessary job and they then meddling and interfering to justify their existence, The School Food Trust is a good example. It needs to be got rid off!
We seem to have lost our way with children in schools. What is happening seems almost akin to brain-washing. Cage them to force them to eat what The School Food Trust tells them to?
I hear that a local infant school now gets the 'lunch-time ' supervisors to 'organise' games at lunchtimes so that bored kids are regimented and doing physical activity that is structured! Why can't we just let them run around and shout and let off steam in break-times or just do nothing if they want to? I remember news-reels of 'happy' organised chinese children at school in Mao's China and thought how depressing. How soon before we form the 'Young PC League' in our schools?
For the 'non-PC' I show a picture of a local newsagents with 'penny' sweets galore that used to be a treat to visit and still is (I still get those pink shrimps). As it is close to Clifftonville Primary School, I wonder if it will be placed 'off limits' after school?
So what we now have is another £220,000 of tax-payers money being given to TCSP to 'do better' and the first thing they do is take out a page advert in The Isle's Gazette to tell us their targets. They might like to save our money and just get on with the job.
I hope Thom Morris's report that they intend to provide areas for grafitti 'artists' to create murals rather than cause criminal damage is not correct. What utter nonsense. Most of the grafitti adorning our streets is unsightly tagging which is vandalism , not artistic. Why restrict such 'good wheezes' to grafitti vandals? Why not buy some houses to allow our arsonists to practice their skills? Why not put bus shelters in play areas so that vandals can de-stress by kicking in the glass panels.? I rather like the idea of starting a social drinking course at The Powell in Birchington, paid for by TCSP, so that drunk and disorderly elements can follow their hobby; might be worth knocking off a PCSOs hat on Marine Terrace when I get up and about again.
What do you think?
According to Clare Gillies, the OFSTED inspector who visited Chatham House earlier this month, we now have a third 'OUTSTANDING' secondary school in Thanet joining the ranks of Dane Court and King Ethelberts. This is excellent news considering that about 30% of its intake is below the standards, particularly in English, normally expected of a grammar school ability range. The whole school can take credit in 'outstanding' categories almost over the board and Clare Gillies only picked up on a bit more spiritual development needed, more contribution to the community and behaviour of some learners (in Year 11). These aspects were nevertheless GOOD but not outstanding!
Thursday, 27 March 2008
A recent meeting of The Kent International Airport (that's Manston by the way) Consultative Committee (KIACC) had to be cancelled as Infratil's local New Zealander in charge, Matt Clarke couldn't make it. This has caused some upset as a planning application was to be discussed concerning a spilt fuel and silt interceptor to catch and sort out run-off from acres of concrete and runways at Manston. That application was on the agenda last night at TDC but I do not know if it was approved; I hope it was.
Norah's reliability as an intelligence analyst is now suspect as she did not warn me about YATESs closure but she had this to offer about the KIACC cancelled meeting. which has yet to be confirmed by any reliable source.
" Mr Biggles" she said " that nice young Matt Clarke wants to avoid a KIACC meeting, yer know." When I asked why, she replied " Yer know that that big A380 from Singapore Airlines that is now flying into Heathrow?" My reply was in the affirmative. " I bet they've got nowhere to do practise landings and bumps, 'av they. I bet they got onto Ifratills and will be buzzing round Fannit before you knows it and thats why yer man didn't want a meeting so he wouldn't 'ave to break that news to em".
"Norah, you have no sources to support that interpretation, no 'leaked' e-mails and no illicit telephone taps" I replied, " I expect better than just your reading of the tea-leaves and a feeling in your water. Unless you can get some reliable sources, you may as well get back on the tea-trolley".
As she shuffled off behind the trolley, with stockings still at 'half-mast', I got wondering. Where will an A380 crew get their landings and take-offs done? I have sourced a picture below from the outskirts of Mumbai to give a feel of what an A380 over Ramsgate might look like close-up. Locals would experience a solar eclipse every 9 minutes.
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Did some comments here on 6 March and by ECR on 20 March (halo slipped on that one, Dickie, old chap!), perhaps make the point? Anyway, I would like to see Thanetlife and One Voice return so that Thanetstrife can pack up shop. I wonder if Your Thanet would like a Bertie Biggles article and do they pay one for it? If they do I would be happy to be their 'mystery' blogger for 3 weeks.
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
As my taxi brought me home from the fracture clinic, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that the normal gang of afternoon drinkers were not in place in YATESs on the corner of Cecil Square.
According to Richard Spillet's report, staff were given a week's notice and yesterday was the last day at work for 12 staff. YATESs web site already shows Margate is no longer a venue.
I suspect that the smoking ban and Margate's declining night life are the prime causes. Not only has Margate now ceased to be a busy town during the day but its night- life is fast imploding. When a 'chain' like YATESs is looking at its own declining sales and profitability it has to make hard choices and closing at Margate after 8 years in the town is the result.
It now joins The Cottage and The Wellington (in the up and coming artistic old quarter!) as closed watering holes in Margate since Christmas. I predicted last year on another site( that has now been closed/suspended or whatever) that crunch time for Margate businesses would be Jan/Feb/Mar 2008 and that prediction is now proving too correct.
Westwood was bad enough as a characterless shopping precinct but also allowing bingo, casino, eateries and a multi-plex cinema to open up at that depressing site has made sure that Margate's night-life will now die as well as many of its High Street shops. The decline is proving remorseless and the callous deliberate demise of Dreamland aided and abetted by TDC ignoring an Independent Planning Inspectors recommendations has hastened it.
I am afraid that I believe we have reached the point where further decline is now inevitable and that closures will accelerate. The problems shared by all 'sea-side' towns has been exacerbated by our own Council as they followed the 'Holy Grail' of The TC , made the ghastly mistake of allowing Dreamland to be half residential and Westwood to be a 'new town'. If Margate has collapsed in the past 3 years so dramatically during the 'economic ' good times, how can we really expect it to improve, now the cold winds of recession are gathering force.?
Are there any optimists out there still?
Of course Shaw Leisure refused the offer!
Is Councillor Latchford so out of touch with the weather conditions on the 'North Side' when a Northerly Force 9 Gale is due in, that he does not realise that 60mph winds would also blow over Palm Bay? Palm Bay was not a realistic alternative and surely Councillor Latchford knew this?
(picture courtesy of Thanet Tree Huggers)
Before you groan about Bertie banging on about fences yet again , this next bit is worth waiting for!
The picture above shows a picture of an allotment fence in the heart of Broadstairs that is 2.4m high and by general consensus an eyesore and by the way, not subject to planning consent apparently and in addition, installed with the full approval of The Mayor of Broadstairs Councillor Jason Savage, his Town Clerk and Town Council.
You might be interested to know that Broadstairs Bowls Club applied to instal a car park and yes, ONLY a 2m fence around it, in Broadstairs Recreation Ground at Lawn Road which is less than 200 m from Culmers Land.
Broadstairs TC has given permission for the car park but not the fence. I quote the Times :
'Mayor of Broadstairs Jason Savage said the fence would be "overkill" and added:" It will look awful for years to come".
Which fence is he talking about?
I despair of our local governance and yes, it could only happen in Thanet!
Monday, 24 March 2008
We 'aviators' aren't very technical with e-matters but I am trying to do my best until other Thanet Blogs get back into business.
I just thought that a clearer background and a stormy picture would brighten up the site and make it easier on the eye. If you are not happy, please say so. I don't have stats counters and all that sort of nonsense and haven't got a clue who visits, as quite frankly its none of my business, so leave as many 'breadcrumbs' around as you like. I do however retain the right (now that I have discovered how to do it) to send any rude, offensive or libellous comments into the 'www ether' but will of course apologise for such drastic steps if I have to take them.
1. Replace the signals with 'intelligent' traffic assessing signals that will alter signal times to improve traffic flow. A SMART system will also be available for buses to 'trigger' lights in their favour.
2. The installation of a new crossing on the west side of the junction across College Road and an over-run island on the east side of the junction on College Road to prevent illegal right turns.
3. High friction surfacing on the approaches.
4. New cabling and all road and footpaths to be resurfaced.
5. New street lighting columns to be installed.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that work is due to start on 30 March and will last for 16 weeks. Although Kent Highways will carry the work out in stages and try to minimise congestion, we all know that this junction is a nightmare at the best of times.
My advice is to avoid the area shown below if you can during April, May, June and July! The worst times to go anywhere near this junction will be during the morning and afternoon school runs as the knock-on effect on 'Coffin Corner' by St Gregory's is likely to be awful. It will be interesting to see how Kent Highways manages traffic flow during these 'prolonged works'; I suspect the complaints into the papers will start by mid-April.
Just in case you need it, you can call Kent Highways on 08458 247800!
Sunday, 23 March 2008
I was saddened to see on BBC TV how empty Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ The King was for Easter Sunday Mass and even allowing for rain in Rome, St Peter's Square seemed a third empty for the Pope's Urbi et Orbi Easter Blessing. Are Roman Catholics abandoning their faith as well?
Mr Chappel has made all his 'cabbies' , regardless of experience, attend eight, two hour classes and read 3 textbooks in order to complete a BTEC in Transporting Passengers by Taxi and Private Hire. The course is funded by local tax payers and so far 700 drivers have taken it, 200 have signed up but 101 still refuse to sign up. These 101 have had their licences taken away by Mr Chappell as a result.
What gems of knowledge does the course provide? One lesson teaches drivers how to greet their passengers and suggests "Hello Mrs Smith, nice to see you again" or if appropriate "Good morning how are you?" Other lessons cover how to talk to passengers while carrying them and to read 'body' language and identify emotions in their passengers. How best to lift a suitcase is taught together with the obligatory 'risk assessment' before doing so.
Taxi drivers are self employed and independent minded but have to be licenced by the local authority who are required to ensure vehicles are inspected, safe and clean and that drivers have CRB checks. I agree with that but this BTEC nonsense for experienced 'cabbies' is just yet another instance of interference by the authorities in peoples lives. I salute the 101 who refused to engage in this nonsense even though it cost them their livelihoods. Would it not have been more sensible to ask experienced 'cabbies' to volunteer for the course but to make it compulsory for all new applicants for a licence?
Read this quote of Mr Chappell and doesn't it sound so familiar to what we hear sometimes from our own Thanet Councillors;
" We are PROUD to be an authority which is LEADING THE WAY by providing our drivers with this training. We have to take FIRM ACTION against those drivers who have not trained".
(They are not 'his' drivers. They are self employed 'businessmen'.)
It seems to me as a 'neutral tinter' that Conservative councillors across the country are as profligate, interfering and 'nanny statish' as our Labour masters. We expect control freakery from Labour, new or otherwise, but not from Conservatives; from them we expect 'common sense'.
The guys from Chauffeur and Central Cars had better look out for Councillor Margaret Sheldrick coming their way with a cap and academic gown on and clutching BTEC books.
What are your views?
Saturday, 22 March 2008
If your eyesight is a little poor let me tell you what the 'key phrases' used to highlight the town's key selling points' are:
ROLL UP ROLL UP!
WISH YOU WERE HERE!
KISS ME QUICK!
IT'S A SHORE THING!
BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE!
CATCH OF THE DAY!
I am now thoroughly confused. What happened to the genteel arty-farty cultural image and the sophisticated cafe society that TDC has been telling us about for the last 2 years.Weren't these to be the saving of derelict Margate?
These key phrases seem reminiscent of the past. I thought we had shed the image of crowds of vulgar Londoners wearing 'kiss me quick hats' wandering down Marine Terrace nibbling jellied eels and swigging lager from cans as they visit our God given beach, closed Dreamland, closed Cinema, closed Bingo and closed shops by the score. I even heard a Tory TDC Cllr at a Planning Committe meeting say 'that we did not want to attract this sort of tourist'!
Anyway, if you want to know more about how David Kinnear, and Derek Harding are spending tax-payer's money on this new campaign, go to http://www.thisismargate.co.uk/ .
I must share with you this 'gem' from the same Thanet Extra article. It quoted Neil Sint (Managing Partner of Sint & Co who manage the half empty Regal Walk Shopping Arcade) as follows: "High Street retailers are getting more opportunities to locate here .....".
You bet there are more opportunities, Mr Sint. There have never been so many closed shops, sorry, 'opportunities', in and around Margate in its history and here's just one of them. Plenty of opportunity around if you don't ask the question 'Why have so many businesses closed?
Now you see them.
Now you dont.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Has Cllr Alasdair Bruce, our Birchington South TDC member and TDC lost the little picture? We are building up on the high plateau in Thanet and will probably carry on doing so for years to come. One can easily envisage a Thanet covered in concrete and surrounded by salt marshes and mosquito infested swamp as our heritage to our grand children, if we are not careful.
The good Dr Bruce talks poetically of 'little islands of nature reserves' and the plans being 'good for the environment and that the area will not be flooded all the time'. How will allowing sea water to cover this area act as a shock absorber? He even praises the Environment Agency for looking ahead 'decades into the future in order to protect the coastline'. So letting sea defences fail is 'protecting the coastline'; what 'Double Speak' is this?
We are talking about ruining between 6,000 and 10,000 acres of agricultural land that is currently producing FOOD. Is he and is TDC aware of the big global picture? Of course not. They cannot even understand that Thanet has an agricultural industry and agricultural land but fields have few votes I suppose, which explains why 'TDC life' is centred around Cecil Sq and visitors to Thanet and the TC.
Venezuela, Ecuador, Vietnam, India and Ukraine have all recently banned food exports to ensure food at reasonable price for their own citizens. Food commodities are rocketing in price and wheat doubled in price in the past 6 months. If Global Warming becomes as bad as the pundits are saying, extremes of weather, drought and flooding can and will affect world food crops and food supplies.
The UK will need to be as self sufficient as possible in food terms if we are to avoid that old fashioned word, HUNGER! This country will need those 6000-10,000 acres that the good Dr Alasdair and TDC see as pretty swamp for visitors to come and enjoy.
My advice to TDC is spend money on the sea defences from Reculver to Minnis Bay and anywhere else around the Isle that needs them and keep ahead of the rising water levels.
My advice to my grand-children, because TDC does not listen to advice, is to get an allotment now and start growing your own food, particularly as TDC has put up excellent security fences to keep out hungry, starving hordes from stealing your carrots and potatoes in 20 years time.
It's strangely re-assuring to find out that TDC is not alone in turning attractive townscapes into ugly eye-sores. I am surprised that TDC didn't go in for the security fencing shown below if the carrots and veggies in Thanet are so valuable.
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
If you consider that MRSA causes meningitis, pneumonia and toxic shock syndrome and is scary, we have other nasty bacteria in our hospitals; E. Coli cases up by 48% in 2007; Clostridium difficile showing a 72% rise in 2007 with over 5,000 deaths attributed to it; Klebsiella pneumoniae 5,198 cases hitting and killing people who have underlying lung problems (causes abscesses in the lungs); Streptococcus pneumoniae 4,553 cases and 14,943 cases of Coagulase negative staphylococcus causing bloodstream infections. In the USA, C. difficile was responsible for 18,650 deaths last year and now exceeds AIDs deaths there. What are the real risks today in the UK concerning acquiring a serious hospital infection? High , is the probable answer.
The historical period of effective anti-biotics has perhaps now passed after 50 years and we need to re-institute simple Victorian inspired hygiene measures that lapsed because we had the anti-biotics to sort out problems caused by slack hygiene. Anyone who remembers a hospital stay in the early 1950s will recall deep cleaning by nurses as a constant activity on a ward; restricted visitors and very limited and short visiting times and a clinically spotless and uncluttered ward environment. Today, the modern hospital has people strolling in at all hours, clutter everywhere and staff being 'urged' to wash their hands and a 're-education' programme of NHS staff in full swing. The public is even being bombarded with adverts to 'wash hands'!
Does anyone remember 'no spitting' signs as a simple anti-TB hygiene measure and yet spitting is now endemic and not helped by football players, in particular,spitting all over our TV screens. TB is now on the increase, having been almost eradicated in this country. In terms of public hygiene, it seems we need to return to the days before anti-biotics became the miracle cure of bacterial infections; those days are now past.
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
All is clearly not well with what was reputedly a happy work place under the De Haan family. You have to admire the 'union-wallahs' for being fast off the mark considering rumblings were reported to have begun only last week! Rumours reported on Sunday, about 'martyrs' , could well be true if the IDU has to put this advice on its hand-out.
Singapore Airlines is flying one of its 3 new Boeing Airbus A 380s towards Heathrow from Changi Airport on its first commercial flight into Europe. 470 champagne guzzling passengers will disgorge into Terminal 3 shortly. Its a very very big plane and makes Thanet's Monarch and Oasis 'circuits and bumps' team look small fry.
I do not know how many landings and take-offs the pilots of the A-380 have to do each month but if it is more than they can get in on normal commercial operations, I wonder where they will go for training circuits?
I had better warn off The Lord Flashheart to keep out of the way if he sees one of them when he nexts comes into Manston. The '20 minuters' have a habit of ignoring the rules and it wouldn't surprise me if he tried to land his Gipsy on an A-380s wing.
Monday, 17 March 2008
You will be pleased to know that on a modest salary of £15,378 I will now pay £1998 in Income Tax, £1118 in National Insurance and £1242.16 in Council Tax. So from my pay I am directly taxed £4358 which equates to 28% of income without even considering the Government's take on my petrol, cigs and wine etc in indirect taxation.
Yes , my pips are squeaking but, you might have noticed that with a National Median (average) wage of £23, 764 and with the bottom 10% earning less than £13,104, my salary is at the lower end of national earnings. So how does a Labour Government deal with me as a low-income earner with no children to support and not in my dotage yet? Yes you have guessed it, they tax me more! The loss of that 10% rate will cost me an extra £22.60 in tax this coming year. So increase the taxes of the 'poor' seems to be the order of the day!
No wonder I resent this Government for its lies and hypocrisy and its paying of UK rates of child benefit for Polish children living in Poland. What happened to fair taxation?
Gordon Brown argues that whilst British Forces are in Iraq, an inquiry should not be held; our Forces can expect to be kept there for some time yet then.
The worst possible aspect about the War was not the invasion nor the initial military victory or its dubious excuses, but the obvious lack of thought by Bush and Blair about what was to happen next. Mr Blair's former 'Chief of Staff' Jonathon Powell admitted yesterday that the Government had failed to plan properly for the aftermath of the war. What a criminal admission for one at the heart of the British Government to make.
So the mess that Iraq soon descended into and the lives of thousands of Iraqis, British and US soldiers were lost because our political leaders had not thought about the aftermath of a predictable military victory? This is incompetent Government at its worst.
The British Government had our own recent history to draw on in respect of Iraq; the insurrection against British Forces in Iraq in the 1920s and the occupations of Nazi Germany and Indo-China at the end of World War 2. Japanese Forces were employed to keep the peace in Indo-China alongside British Forces and in Germany, the Wehrmacht, Police and civil administration was re-established quickly whilst the 'de-nazification' programme was instituted.
The disintegration of the Iraqi Army and the removal of the Baath Party (the civil authority) in 2003 created an immediate vacuum. The simple answer, successfully employed in the past, should have been to restore as much of the previous military and civil structure immediately and get the Iraqi Army back in uniform and as many Baath Party officials back at their posts as possible. The 'political re-education' process could have then followed.
Failure in Iraq, after a successful initial military campaign, can be placed at the door of our own Government and the Bush Administration. 5 years of bloodshed and misery endured by the Iraq people was unnecessry and avoidable.
That is why Brown does not want an inquiry.
What do you think?
Sunday, 16 March 2008
It would appear that the family atmosphere and 'we're all in this together' approach from the De Haan family days has evaporated since Charterhouse control. Low wages (this is Thanet after all ) combined with ever increasing 'sale's targets' to achieve a bonus seems to have been the tele-sales staff' lot for some now. The final straw seems to be a recruitment of 'labourers to the Saga vinyard' at different rates to experienced long serving staff.
Rumour has it that 21st century 'Tolpuddle' activists have already been carpetted for daring to talk 'Union' talk.
I began to read on, thinking that this was the start of more community involvement and consultation by TDC with its electorate. No, it was an attack on the Government and national decline and quite simply illustrates why many of us 'neutral tinters' think that our local politicians should be 'independents' and not 'party wallahs'. Is this perhaps Sandy having national aspirations and looking longingly at Thanet North?
I have enough gripes about Central Government of my own but before our local leaders throw criticisms in that direction, it might be better to get affairs in Thanet going in the right direction first. For example:
£6 million wasted on TC; The Dreamland Fiasco; Town Centre Blight caused by Westwood Cross; Traffic Chaos; rising costs of TDC; allotment fencing; poor performance of parts of TDC etc. etc.......
I am reminded of that advice from that splendid leader of the '20 minuters', The Lord Flashheart when I put the Sopwith down after flying around for a few hours in low cloud and no 'vis', at Maypole instead of Manston. " Bertie, old boy," he shouted (why can't he talk at normal level) , " when you lose your way, instead of going around in circles and disappearing up your own orifice, unpleasant what?, Woof Woof! Its much better to put down quickly, and ask the locals the right way home."
So my answer to Sandy's question 'Have we lost way?' is yes I think you have. Go and ask the locals. What do you think?
Saturday, 15 March 2008
What can one say but a thank you to those wonderful scribblers at Union Row, Margate for their item in Friday's Gazette. As a result of the dearth in Thanet blog site activity in recent times, it is nice to have one's 'stand-in' efforts acknowledged in our local press.
All I can say, is a thank-you to readers who have drifted in, and that I hope you will be back. We don't bother to count hits on this site, basically because we lack the E-ability to instal a counter, and quite frankly so what? Norah's advice, "Mr Biggles, you must keep up this blogging business for a little while longer now." will need some consideration but after what my doctors consider to be an excess of alcohol units in one session, its time for the crawl up the stairs to bed. Good-night!
Friday, 14 March 2008
Basically, developers calling themselvesLilybrook Developments have either purchased or have already sewn up purchase of a number of houses (if Planning consent is obtained) in Downs Road and Pegwell Road in Ramsgate. The houses all have very big gardens and the plan below shows the houses and gardens at the moment. To get some idea of just how pretty this area is in Pegwell, go to Virtual Earth and have a look from the air! Laura Sandys, presently on late honeymoon and local Cllrs Kirby and Gideon got stuck into this issue in December and hopefully sufficient objections were sent to TDC. You can see why with the plans submitted by Lilybrook Developments. shown below. 26 new homes are to be crammed into this area because technically it is a brown fieldsite.
Thursday, 13 March 2008
We still do not have the wherewithall to get the Sopwith's elastic band fixed and there is a nasty pussy sore above my plaster cast that is worrying me. Norah's advice that 'a mustard pulse will sort it' was not very helpful.
Plenty of time on my hands to read the newspapers and travel around the blogs. The Isle of Thanet Gazunder has started back into life with ECR at the editor's helm whilst East Cliff Richard blogspot still has shutters up as does The Thanetonian. Time for OVIT to start another site; 'YAVIT' (Yet another Voice in Thanet is a suggestion?) The Lord Matt B, having inflicted damage on Moores Pine in Wikipedia is now making soothing blogging sounds on The Thanet Star and it makes sense. The shutters up on ZZZEn, or the alternative Thanet Life as it was described last week, has posed my analysts with a small problem on Int gathering and if they don't find a way round the problem, they will have to go! Norah's suggestion was good and is being looked at; " Mr Biggles" she said, " What you need is a wooden horse, like them Greeks at Troy".
A Wooden Horse was used by RAF Pows in the last war to break out of a prison camp and leads in nicely to the argument as to why Bomber Command air-crews in World War 2 were never granted a separate 'campaign' medal'.
This country sent thousands of young men to take the war to the enemy in bombing raids and yet with a casualty rate that exceeded any other Arm
(55,573 pilots and crew lost their lives and almost 11,000 were captured having been shot down or crashed on enemy held territory) their sacrifice was never recognised with a separate medal. I suppose that giving pardons to World War 1 deserters and cowards has been a greater priority than recognising the bravery of air-crews whose life expectancy was worse than a subaltern officer in World War 1! I personally hold Atlee and The Labour Government of 1945 and the post war criticism of The Dresden Raid as the prime reasons why no recognition has been given. When will meally mouthed politicians accept that they tasked our Armed Forces, as they still do, for operations, and that recognition of simple guts and courage is long overdue.
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
There are serious signs of hard times ahead, around the Isle. Ramsgate is waking up to the decimation of its town centre if we are to believe letters to our local press and a short walk around Margate confirms a fast accelerating decline in the town. Work has ceased at that wonderful Sea-Bathing development (due so we are told to a dispute between Paigle and contractors) and more worrying is the cessation , other than finishing off a few houses already started, at St Augustine's development in Westgate; unsold properties of Phases 2 and 3 abound and Phases 4 to 7 seem to be on hold.
Westgate and Margate pubs were deadly quiet for the last two week-ends and people have little money to spend. Local builders tell me they have guys who went off to London, now asking them if there is a 'job' back in Thanet going? It seems to me , without that special insight gained as a TDC Councillor, that Westwood Cross has been a disaster for our local towns and that more pain is to follow.
That rumour that a certain London Borough has already earmarked housing at the new Westwood Cross housing development continues to persist despite it being 'poo-pooed' by a 'Tory Councillor and author of the popular but besieged Thanet Life weblog' some months ago.
On that subject how can a suspended, closed site be popular but beseiged? That hasn't stopped Your Thanet running another 'Your Thanet Blogger' article by Dr Simon Moores this week. I must say I enjoyed 'Iraq, Rock and ruin' and it was free!
His 'boss' Ezekiel and our MP, Roger Gale must be wondering why Simon has more coverage in the local media than they do. The answer of course may be that "it's a Zen thing".
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
If you're wondering about the title of this post and a picture of a Landrover Vogue (£50,000 of car) then let me tell you. It has to be one of the' best' from The Thanet Times for a long while.
Once there was a firm called Fire Technology ,with a very rich man owning 50%. Fire Technology 'went out of business' and promptly re-opened as Fire Technology
International ( a new business of course) but with the same directors, shareholders and premises. (This is not Watchdog, you are still on Thanet Strife; bear with me.) The only problem was, that a not so well off man, a Mr Martin Hodges, had not been paid for £3, 862 of work by Fire Technology ( the original one) not Fire Technology International, which was of course an entirely different company! Mr Hodges got a tiny bit annoyed so went in pursuit of Mr Ken Wills, a well known local businessman and reputedly a £25,000 donator to the Labour Party, to get his money back. Of course he had no joy, even though it was Boxing Day ( no Christmas Spirit here) and this is where the breeze-block comes in. Mr Hodges took the breeze-block for a bouncy castle ride around Mr Wills' Landrover Vogue because Mr Hodges felt that Mr Wills was having a much more enjoyable Christmas than he was and Mr Hodges was effectively paying for it. He managed to inflict £4, 862 of damage to the Landrover Vogue. Thank goodness he didn't get anywhere near Mr Wills' Augusta 109 Helicopter, recently described as 'the airborne equivalent of a Bentley'; goodness knows what the damage would have cost!
Quite rightly charged for this offence, Mr Hodges ended up pleading guilty to the offence before Thanet Magistrates but was represented by Roger Davis who definitely needs to be quoted again. He told the Magistrates about the back-ground to the incident and then said " The exact amount of damage he caused, by a quirk of fate, is oddly exactly £1,000 more than he was owed. It could be argued they could settle for £1,000" ( You have to admire Davis' style)
Remember the name, Roger Davis, if you are ever in a tight spot; he might not get you off completely but clearly is good news!
Poor old Mr Hodges, is now a little poorer; he was ordered to pay Mr Wills £4,862 in damages and will probably have little prospect of ever getting any money from Fire Technology.(International or otherwise). The magistrates, in their wisdom also gave Mr Hodges the minimum sentence possible (he had pleaded guilty); a 12 month conditional discharge. Whilst in no way condoning Mr Hodges actions, I do feel a certain sympathy for him and hope that those few seconds of pounding Mr Wills' Vogue made him feel happier for a shortwhile at Christmas. Like credit card excesses though, he now has to pay for it.
They are all going 'invitation only'!
My analysts have just woken me up to tell me that there is no more tapping going on in the existentialist region unless you join the 'club' and are invited in. They have been monitoring this as a source closely for some time now. I will now go back to bed, tapping my NHS walking stick on the floor like some 'Blind Pugh' delivering the 'black spot' and had better ask Norah what her take is on this surprising development, when she comes in , later this morning.
She still hasn't got the idea that stockings around her ankles isn't the done thing for intelligence analysts! I had better have words again.